P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM for voting right to Sehajdhari Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Even as the Punjab Congress chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, has been avoiding taking sides on the issue of disenfranchising of Sehajdhari Sikhs in the SGPC elections, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today came out in full support of the Sehajdhari Sikhs stating that all Sikhs had the right to vote in these elections.

“A Sikh is a Sikh whether he is Keshdhari or Sehajdhari and every Sikh has an equal right to choose who will manage his Guru da ghar,” said Capt Amarinder Singh while talking to mediapersons after releasing the news magazine of Chandigarh Press Club at his residence here this morning.

Capt Amarinder Singh stated that there was absolutely no dissatisfaction brewing within his party regarding his leadership in the state. Reiterating that he continued to enjoy the support of the Congress high command, Captain Amarinder Singh said that most of the reports pertaining to rise of factionalism within the PPCC were the result of disinformation being floated against him. Without pointing specifically as to who could be responsible for disseminating this information, the Chief Minister said that spread of such information was part of a campaign against him.

Stating that none of his meetings with various party leaders in New Delhi had even touched any issue of dissatisfaction among party leaders, Capt Amarinder Singh said that he was in regular contact with the high command and had recently met Ms Mohsina Kidwai, General Secretary, in New Delhi.

Answering a query if reports regarding the scanty attendance of MLAs at dinners hosted recently, the Chief Minister said that such events should not be taken seriously politically. “These are social occasions and have nothing to do with political inclinations,” he said.

The Chief Minister said he would start his campaign tour to the states where elections had been announced soon. “We will start with New Delhi, then Rajasthan and even parts of Madhya Pradesh,” he said.

Responding to an allegation of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann that he had been illegally detained by the police, he said that no one was above law. Referring to Daler Mehndi’s case, Capt Amarinder Singh said that in case he was convicted it should prove to be an example for others who were indulging in similar practices.


Plan to adopt zero tillage for wheat sowing
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Zero tillage reduces the cost of cultivation of wheat by Rs 2,000 per hectare. Dr Ajmer Singh, Director of Agriculture, says that under this concept, pre-sowing irrigation is done after harvesting paddy and wheat is directly sown with a drill without farmers going in for ploughing of fields.

Besides substantial reduction in the cost of cultivation, there is saving of water and weed control is better. ‘’We intend to bring at least 80,000 hectares under wheat through zero tillage against 40,000 hectares in 2002-03,” he adds.

Wheat sowing has already commenced in some districts like Sangrur, Ludhiana, Amritsar. Though at a low scale now, it will pick up after October 25.

Punjab will have 31.75 lakh hectares under wheat against 33.75 lakh hectares in 2002-03.

Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, has recommended nine varieties of wheat for sowing to the farmers.

PBW-343 is currently the most popular wheat variety sown in 90 per cent of the area in Punjab. It has the highest yield.

Among the nine varieties the irrigated, timely sown bread wheat varieties are PBW-343, WH-542 and durum varieties, PDW-274 and PDW-233. The late sown, irrigated is the triticale, TL-1210 and bread wheat PBW-373. The timely sown, rainfed three varieties are PBW-396, PBW-299 and PBW-175 and the late sown, rainfed are five varieties, PBW-396, PBW-299, PBW-1275, PBW-373 and T-1210.

The farmers are advised not to sow PBW-154 and PBW-138 varieties as these have become susceptible to rust diseases . Likewise, durum wheat, PBW-34, is no longer recommended for cultivation. It stands replaced by two other varieties — PDW-274 and PDW-233.


Canadian PM for reviving ties with India
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The two-day visit of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien to India beginning tomorrow will focus on expanding political and economic relationship between the two countries as well as discuss regional security issues. For Mr Chretien, it will be his second visit to India as Prime Minister. He also becomes the first Canadian Prime Minister to visit Punjab.

His brief visit is significant as it attempts to revive the cordiality and substantial bilateral trade the two nations enjoyed prior to the imposition of sanctions after the June 1998, nuclear tests conducted by India.

He will meet Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi tomorrow.

Mr Chretien, who may be formally relinquishing office in February next in favour of his once Finance Minister Paul Martin, will also visit the Golden Temple before travelling to Chandigarh to visit the site of the new Canadian Consulate-General.

The visit of Mr Chretien is not because of any diplomatic or political effort to end bitterness in bilateral relations created by nuclear tests India conducted some five years ago, but because of the growing political clout the Indian migrant community wields in Canada now.

Accompanying Mr Chretien on this tour will be Canada’s first Punjabi Federal Minister Herb Dhaliwal. Mr Gurbax Malhi, Parliamentary Secretary for Labour, is also part of the entourage.

Mr Gurmant Grewal, who is currently in Chandigarh as part of the Prime Minister’s entourage, will be meeting Indian parliamentarians to motivate them to establish a Parliamentary friendship group on the lines he has formed one in Canada. The mandate is to foster friendship and goodwill between parliamentarians of two nations.

“This will assist in furthering cooperative relations and mutual understanding between our respective Parliaments and nations,” says Mr Grewal. Before coming to India, he visited Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as a member of a parliamentary delegation.

Mr Grewal says he always believed that the Canadian Government’s sanctions against India and Pakistan were a mistake. “The Canadian Government has now realised the same and is attempting to promote trade with India,” says Mr Grewal.

Some weeks after the Canadian Government imposed sanctions against India, Mr Grewal and official leader of the then Opposition, Mr Preston Manning, defied an advisory from the Canadian Government to visit India and hold a long meeting with the President and members of the Union Council of Ministers here. At that time, Mr Manning and other parliamentarians accompanying him had also visited the Golden Temple complex.

While talking about opening of the Canadian Consulate-General office in Chandigarh, Mr Grewal says that it was a long-standing demand of the Punjabi community. In 1997, the Liberals talked about upgrading the Chandigarh business office to a Consulate office but did not pursue it hard. Ultimately, when the Government of India changed its policy in September, 2001, in allowing a Consulate-General office outside four main cosmopolitan cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkatta, the present Liberal government took more than two years to take benefit of the new policy.

Canadian Embassy den of corruption: MP
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 23
Human trafficking racket, exposed after Punjabi pop singers Daler Mehandi and Sukhwinder Panchhi were booked for allegedly charging crores of rupees from gullible youths to ensure their immigration to the Western countries, today took a new turn, when Mr Gurmant Grewal, a member of House of Commons, Canada, openly termed the Canadian Embassy at New Delhi as a den of corruption and alleged that visas were being issued to even ineligible candidates after accepting bribe.

Ironically, the allegations were levelled at a time, when the Canadian Prime Minister was scheduled to formally inaugurate office at Chandigarh on October 25.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Grewal, who was accompanied by local MP Balbir Singh, said that his party has received several complaints that some of the Canadian embassy staff in Delhi was taking a bribes and giving group visas to even ineligible applicants under the garb of cultural and sports exchange programmes organised by the travel agents and artistes.

“In fact, the Canadian Embassy at New Delhi has become a den of corruption as huge money is being charged as bribe to issue visas to even ineligible applicants. We have reports that group visas for ‘ragis’, sportsmen, musicians and artistes from Punjab are being issued for money as consideration. Besides, some political leaders are also involved in “kabootarbazi”. He said, adding, “The Candian immigration policy was full of loop-holes which resulted in illegal immigration”.

Mr Grewal, who immigrated to Canada in September 1991, alleged that though he had raised the issue of “kabootrbazi” in the Canadian Parliament several times in the past, but nothing concrete had been done by the ruling party to check this illegal practice.

“What is more surprising is that visa applications of the Indian businessmen, who wants to set up some industrial or commercial unit in Canada, are still being processed at Singapore and most of the time they have to appear at Singapore office for interview, which is very deplorable. Why is there discrimination for Indians?” he questioned.

Commenting upon the lack of improvement in bilateral business ties between two countries, Mr Grewal, who originally hails from Ludhiana, said that lack of political will on the part of Canadian leaders in the past was the main reason in this regard.

“You see, Canada had signed scores of MoUs with India in different fields during the past one decade even as these were never proceeded to its logistical end due to lack of will,” He said, adding, that the Punjab was the most favourite destination for the Canadian investors in the present context and due to availability of skilled and English-speaking work force.


Delegates arrive for Sikh convention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
A number of Sikh delegates from the USA and the UK have arrived here to participate in the world Sikh convention at Mohali on October 26, which is being vehemently opposed by the SGPC, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) etc.

Organisers of convention said today that it would be held as scheduled and its venue would be announced at a press conference tomorrow. Earlier, Dara Film Studio had been booked for hosting the convention.

Prof Gurtej Singh met the Chief Secretary today to request that the organisers should be allowed to use PUDA land at Mohali to hold the convention in case the management of Dara Studio, which had approached again, did not agree to allow the convention. The organisers would have to seek permission from the PUDA authorities based in Mohali for the purpose.

Mr Hardev Singh Shergill, a member of the North America Gurdwara Management Committee, who has come to participate in the convention, said he was disappointed to say that certain people were openly issuing threats to disrupt the convention. The management committees of certain gurdwaras of North America had supported the decision to hold the convention the objective of which was to remove Brahmanical practices that had creeped in Sikhism, he said.

When informed that the SGPC was there to decide issues pertaining to Sikhism, Mr Shergill said it had failed to do anything worthwhile. It had done nothing in the past 30 years to rid Sikhism of the practices that were not part of it, he added. The failure of the SGPC had influenced the decision to hold the convention. Misleading propaganda was being made by vested interests against the convention. It was not being held to destroy or damage Sikh institutions, said Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, who has come from the UK. “We are not against the institution of Akal Takht. We are all for it”, he said.

Mr Joginder Singh, Editor of Spokesman, who is the main organiser of the convention, said there was no provision for appointing the Jathedar of any takht in Sikhism. “We have not called ‘Sarbat Khalsa’. A wrong picture was being painted by branding the convention ‘Sarbat Khalsa’. We will only pass resolutions the way these are passed at “Sarbat Khalsa”, he asserted.

He clarified that the convention was not being held to support the views of Kala Afghana. The main issue at the convention would be “excommunication”.

Nihangs to oppose Sikh sammelan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
Mr Gurtej Singh, ‘Professor of Sikhism’ has said that “come what may the proposed World Sikh Sammelan would be held on October 26 at Mohali per schedule’, but various Nihang Singhs’ organisations have declared that they would disrupt the conference.

In a written statement, issued by Baba Santa Singh, chief of the Budha Dal has said that Nihang organisations, including the Taruna Dal, Harianbelan, Dal, Baba Bidhi Chand Ji, Taruna Dal (Baba Jawand Singh) and Malwa Taruna Dal won’t allow the organisers of the conference to raise voice against age-old institutions of Akal Takht and the Sikh clergy.

Meanwhile, Mr Hardev Singh Shergil, a confidant of excommunicated Sikh, Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana has specially came from the USA to attend conference. Mr Gurtej Singh said that at least 50 Sikh scholars from abroad and 5000 from various parts of India would participate in the conference.

He said the organisers had been receiving threats everyday and the government had been requested to take appropriate measures so that no untoward incident happened.

Though Mr H.S. Dilgir, a Sikh scholar, and Mr J.S. Mann have claimed that the organisers of the conference had agreed, in principle, not to raise the issue of Mr Kala Afghana and Akal Takht during the deliberations to be held at the World Sikh Sammelan yet Mr Gurtej Singh told The Tribune that none of the organisers had given such assurance to the mediators. He said the organisers had not authorise anybody to mediate between the SGPC and them.

LUDHIANA: The Khalsa Panchayat, said today the World Sikh Convention would be organised, ‘‘come what may.’’

Criticising former Chief Minister Punjab and SAD (B) chief, Parkash Singh Badal for opposing the World Sikh Convention scheduled for October 26 at Mohali, the Khalsa Panchayat announced to launch a massive “pamphlet campaign” against him and his party.

“Preparations for the convention have been finalised and record number of people and a galaxy of Sikh Intellectuals would participate in the convention,” said Mr Charanjit Singh Channy, Convener, of the Khalsa Panchayat at a press conference here today. Among these would be some intellectuals from abroad, he added.

The Khalsa Panchayat did not disclose the names of the main speakers and participants or the venue of the convention. Mr Channy said ‘‘we don’t want to give a chance to the opponents to pressurise the participants of the convention or those owning the convention venue.’’

He disclosed that Sikh Sangat had been told to reach various places in Mohali by 6:30 a.m where buses arranged by the Khalsa Panchayat would be waiting to ferry them to the convention venue.

Mr Balwant Singh Minia, President, International Dharam Parchar Council also attended the conference and said the council was supporting the convention, “It is being organised by the Sikhs only. I am shocked why it is still being opposed,” he said.

Mr Channy said all opposition of the convention was baseless. He said the convention aimed at stressing the supremacy of Akal Takht and free it from political interference. The organisers reiterated its invitation to the Sikh Sangat for participating in the convention.

Organisation of the convention is a subject of controversy for the past several weeks. Sikh organisations are divided on the issue.


Man accused of bribing Badals in Vigilance net
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
In a game of oneupmanship between the Punjab Vigilance Bureau and the former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal , the police today arrested Jagnandan Singh of Sangrian village of Hanumangarh district ( Rajasthan), for having paid a bribe of Rs 2.5 lakh to Ms Surinder Kaur Badal through his brother-in-law Kuldip Singh to get a job as a government schoolteacher and for manipulating his domicile documents. He will be produced in the Kharar court tomorrow for seeking police remand.

Mr Kuldip Singh of Ghumiara was one of the few persons, who was produced by Mr Badal before mediapersons on October 10 to belie the Vigilance claims that Harbans Lal, manager of a petrol station owned by his brother, was his conduit through whom these persons allegedly bribed him. At that time, Mr Kuldip Singh, whom the bureau claimed had paid Badals Rs 2.5 lakh to get his son the job of a panchayat secretary, had said: “My son is 12 years old and studies in Class V. How can I pay money to get him a job,’’ he asked. No one in my family is in government service, he said.

However, the Vigilance emphatically maintains that Mr Kuldip Singh had paid the money through Harbans Lal to the Badals to get his brother-in-law Jagnandan Singh the job of a government schoolteacher. The bureau further clarified that even at the time of seeking Harbans Lal’s remand, they had claimed before the court that he had named Kuldip Singh for having paid the bribe to get a job for one of his relatives, and not his son. However, he had misconstrued the facts before the media, he alleged.


Scholars ready blueprint on Jathedars’ removal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
Close on the heels of the announcement of 21-member Religious Advisory Board (RAB) by the SGPC, various Sikh organisations today discussed the blueprint for the appointments and removal of the Sikh high priests.

Much to the embarrassment of the SGPC, four members, out of the 21 members of the RAB, were present at the conference which discussed the matter at length even as the Shiromani committee was yet to think of calling the first meeting of the RAB. These four members of the RAB included Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, executive member of the SGPC, Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, honorary secretary, Chief Khalsa Diwan, Dr Bikram Singh, Principal Gurmat College, Patiala and Mr Kanwarpal Singh, a leader of Dal Khalsa and organiser of the today’s function.

The function was organised by the Dal Khalsa and its associate groups.

The Sikh scholars opined that it should not be the sole discretion of the SGPC to appoint or remove the Jathedars at will though it may play the role of a coordinator among the various Sikh organisations for the appointment or removal of Jathedars. Expressing dismay over the unceremonious removal of Jathedays in the past, Sikh scholars said that opinion had to be evolved for this purpose. The blueprint suggested that a ‘Khalsa darbar’ should be constituted for framing rules for this purpose.

Addressing a joint press conference after the conference, Mr Satnam Singh Paunta Sahib, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, Mr Jaspal Singh Dhillon and Mr Harsimran Singh said that the blueprint would be revised by incorporating the suggestions made by the Sikh scholars at today’s conference.

Then the draft would be circulated all over the world for seeking more suggestions. The final draft would be prepared by the end of April next year which would be submitted to the SGPC for its approval. They said opinion and suggestions of radical Sikh organisations would also be incorporated in the final draft.

The organisers said that Jathedars should be asked not to talk to the media as their statements were normally distorted by the media.

Among those who addressed the conference included Dr Sohan Singh, Mr Harcharnjit Singh Dhami, Dr Prithipal Singh Kapur, Mr Jagdish Singh Mukerian, Mr Tarsem Singh, Chairman of Dharam Prachar Committee, Delhi Gurdwara Committee and Prof Harpal Singh Pannu.


Bachi takes over as PSEB administrative member
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 23
Akali leader Gurbachan Singh Bachi today took over charge as Administrative Member of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) following a direction to this effect by the Punjab and Haryana High Court leaving Congress legislator Raman Bhalla who had been recently appointed to this post high and dry.

Mr Bachi, who had been appointed Administrative Member in December, 2001 and was suspended in March, 2002, today took over the reins of his old office in a low key manner. The PSEB authorities did not pay any attention to the taking over ceremony and the Public Relations wing of the Board did not even deem it fit to issue a press release on the occasion. Taking over charge of the post of Administrative Member is usually an important event because of the transfer and posting powers vested in the Member. Mr Bachi was greeted by his friends and some SGPC members on the occasion.

Sources said Mr Bachi had been made an Administrative Member of the board as part of a political strategy to ensure he did not spoil the electoral chances of Mr Baldev Singh Mann who was being given the SAD ticket from Dirba. Earlier in 1992 Mr Mann had lost the elections due to the opposition put up Mr Bachi. The Akali high command had, under a political arrangement, asked Mr Mann to vacate the post of Administrative Member and given the same post to Mr Bachi.

However, the Akali government itself had started the process of suspending Mr Bachi after he had allegedly started opposing the candidature of Mr Baldev Singh Mann. A case was made out against him which was finalised by the Congress government. Mr Bachi had earlier been active in the Cooperative movement in the state and also served as Director of Markfed and Chairman of the Punjab State Cooperative Bank.


Dismiss Pro-VC, VC asks Governor
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 23
The Punjabi University authorities have decided to convey to the university’s Chancellor and Punjab Governor, Justice O. P. Verma, that he is being defied by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr R. N. Pal.

Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, while disclosing this here today, said in the face of such actions the Pro-Vice-Chancellor should not be allowed to remain in office. He said a letter detailing the “defiance” instructions of the Chancellor by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor was being sent to the Chancellor.

According to the varsity authorities, the Chancellor had conveyed to Dr R. N. Pal that for all purposes, including taking leave, he was under the Vice-Chancellor, who was his controlling officer. The Vice-Chancellor said a copy of the letter had been sent to Dr Pal and that he had also endorsed a copy of the same to him.

Mr Boparai claimed that despite this the Pro-VC did not seem to be “in an amenable mood,” and was openly boasting of his connections with certain senior ministers in the Union government. He said this attitude proved that the Pro-VC was bent upon not working under the University calendar.

The Vice-Chancellor said the university had recommended the dismissal of the Pro-VC more than three months ago. He said the varsity had collected evidence of various acts of “omission and commission” of the Pro-VC. In cases where evidence was not forthcoming, it had taken written statements of Class I officers. The opinion of the State Advocate-General had been taken and he had recommended that it was a fit case for removal.

The Vice-Chancellor accused the Pro-VC of leaking a letter he had written to the Registrar to the press on a day when the Registrar was on leave and the letter had not been opened. The unopened letter was being sent to the Chancellor as evidence.

On the withholding of the salary of the Pro-VC for a few months, Mr Boparai said he had ordered that salary should not be paid for the period of leave that had been availed without permission.

The university is writing to the Chancellor two days after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh stated that the Pro-VC was under the Vice-Chancellor.

Repeated attempts were made to contact the Pro-VC at his residence without success.



Pak Commissioner to report on objections over dam
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, October 23
Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Water (PCIW), Syed Jamait Ali Shah and his two advisers Mr Bashir Ahmed and Izhar-ul-Haq said that they would submit their report on the serious violation of the Indus Water Treaty by the Government of India while constructing 450 mv Baglihar hydro project in Jammu and Kashmir to the government of Pakistan at the earliest.

Before returning to Pakistan after four days inspection of the project being constructed on the Chenab river, Mr Shah said that it was the duty of India and Pakistan to implement the Indus Water Treaty in toto. He said PCIW had objections over the height of the proposed Baglihar dam which should had been kept within the parameters as per the Indus Water Treaty. He said the PCIW would also brief the Pakistan government on the talks they had with their Indian counter-parts . The objections to be raised in their report would be taken up with the Government of India at an appropriate level. Mr Shah said that the objections raised by the Government of Pakistan over the Baglihar project were confirmed after their visit to the site. The PCIW has raised objections over the site and design of the project. Mr Shah said that as per the Indus Water Treaty India should not construct gates to affect the course of river water which could put Pakistan in a disadvantageous situation.

The PCIW said that there was a provision in the Indus Water Treaty on the intervention of a third party in case disputes persisted between India and Pakistan on the six river water basin including Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Chenab, Sindh and Jhelum. Mr Shah said that India should have constructed the Baglihar dam on ‘run and recover’ basis. Mr Shah did not rule out the possibility of seeking opinion from the experts of the third country on this issue which should be binding on both the sides as per the treaty.

On the fresh move of the Indian Government to improve ties with Pakistan, Mr Bashir Ahmed, an adviser to the PCIW said that it was a welcome step. He said people to people contact would be increased with the proposals to increase the bus frequencies between India and Pakistan and resumption of the ‘Samjhauta Express’.


CBI begins probe into labourer’s death
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, October 23
Three years after the alleged custodial death of a youth, Sonu, at Abohar in Faridkot, the CBI today started investigation into the matter after registering a case following High Court directions. The CBI has also decided to send a team of officials to Bihar and Punjab to find whereabouts of the deceased’s family, which disappeared from Abohar a few months after the incident.

The High Court had directed the Superintendent of Police(CBI) to register a case into the matter and submit a report to the court after conducting thorough investigation within four months.

A labourer from Bihar, Sonu, was allegedly picked up by the Abohar police and tortured in police custody till August 21, 2000. Thereafter, he was remanded in judicial custody and sent to Fazilka jail. On August 22, his condition deteriorated and he was shifted to the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Ferozepore. On August 23, he succumbed to his injuries.

On August 26, human rights organisation Ahsaas had conducted investigation in the case and concluded that it was a case of custodial death. Thereafter, the general secretary of Ahsaas had filed a public interest litigation(PIL) through human rights activist Arunjeev Singh Walia against the Punjab state, the Director-General of Police, Punjab, the SSP, Ferozepore, and the SHO, Abohar, in the High Court.

The human rights organisation had sought an independent inquiry into the custodial death by the CBI and also prayed for ordering an interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased.

Earlier the investigation in the case was conducted by Punjab police officials, which did not satisfy the court. Thereafter, the court directed the District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot, to make a detailed inquiry into the cause of the death of Sonu.

The court said that “a report of the District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot, clearly shows that the deceased had not died a natural death. The medico-legal examination of the injuries found on the body of the deceased could be the result of torture given by the police. The theory put forward by the police that deceased was beaten up by the mob has been disbelieved by the District and Sessions Judge, Faridkot”.


PUDA told to pay plot holder Rs 8.5 lakh
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, October 23
The District Consumer Forum has directed PUDA to pay a compensation of Rs 8,57, 000 to a complainant, Mr Ravinderpal Singh Bains, a resident of Phase 9, Mohali.

Mr Bains had submitted that a plot measuring 500 sq yards was originally allotted to Raghbir Singh on August 31, 1995, against a tentative price of Rs 7,70,000 in Sector 69 of Urban Estate Mohali, at Rs 1,400 per sq yard and 10 per cent extra as fee for corner plot.

Raghbir Singh deposited Rs 60,000 as earnest money and Rs 13,22,000 as first instalment before being given the allotment letter.

After permission, Raghbir Singh transferred the plot to Mr Bains in 1996. PUDA subsequently wrote to Mr Bains that the plot had 69.44 sq yards extra requiring him to deposit Rs 1,06,937 for that. The complainant deposited the amount as also the remaining payment for the plot in six instalments.

According to PUDA rules, the complainant had to start construction within three years. However, he was given actual possession on March 15, 1999. In the possession letter the area was mentioned as 256.25 sq yards, instead of 569.44 sq yards. Mr Bains had to petition to PUDA authorities to rectify the mistake, which took about eight months.

On the basis of the final possession letter, the complainant got the plan for his house made. When he submitted it for approval, officials were deputed for measurement of the plot. In the measurement, the area was found to be 508.11 sq yards against the allotment of 569.44.

As the area had been reduced by 61.33 sq yards, the complaint asked for a refund of Rs 94,109 with an interest of 18 per cent from the date of deposit. Besides, he also demanded the refund of Rs 15,750 he paid to the architects for the construction plan and a compensation of Rs 1 lakh.

PUDA, in its reply filed before the forum claimed that the complainant was not entitled to refund for the reduced area as the amount had been adjusted against the extension fee amounting to Rs 36,475. PUDA also maintained that it was not at fault in the reduction of area as it was due to the fault of the Town Planner.

The forum, comprising President J.P. Gupta and Member S.K.Bhatia, however, held the PUDA authorities guilty of dereliction of duty.

Besides awarding a compensation of Rs 8,57, 000 PUDA was also directed to pay to the complainant Rs 15,750 he spent on the plan, to refund 94,109 with an interest of 18 per cent from the date of deposit and to permit construction within three years from December 10, 2002.

The complainant was also awarded Rs 2,500 as cost of litigation. 


Bains to attend WSO meeting
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 23
The defunct World Sikh Organisation (WSO) is being revived even as the issue is pending with the Sikh clergy. The first meeting of the WSO is being held next month on the arrival of its chairman, Mr Didar Singh Bains.

Disclosing the plans, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, secretary-general of the WSO, said though the Akal Takht Jathedar would continue to be its patron, there was no need to seek his approval as per the constitution of the council.

He said the Chief Minister had assured a delegation of the WSO approval for leasing out 452 acres of land belonging to certain villages near Chamkaur Sahib for a World Sikh University proposed to be constructed at a cost of Rs 250 crore.

Mr Mann said Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Haryana Chief Minister, had also agreed to allot 100 acres in Karnal for a proposed Guru Gobind Singh University. Apart from this, a medical college would be constructed on 50 acres at Sonepat, while a cancer institute would come up on 25 acres at Gurgaon.

On the unspent money of the WSO, Mr Mann said efforts would be made to withdraw the money from the bank, apart from recovering a “huge amount” from Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht, who had received money in the name of the Sarbat Da Bhala Trust.

Justice Kuldip Singh (retd), had resigned as chairman of the WSC following controversy. While the issue was pending with the Sikh clergy, the parallel group appointed millionaire NRI Sikh Didar Singh Bains its chairman.



Sharing pain, hopes and laughter
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, October 23
Happiness is always infectious. So it was this afternoon for the 30 physically challenged kids of Roshni Rehabilitation School, who lived life kingsize in the few moments of sharing they had with 15 children from YPS, Patiala, and SAS Nagar. As children from two streams of society came together to celebrate Divali in a manner different from the usual cracker routine, the exhilaration that spread in the ambience was for all to see.

The occasion was simple, made special by the visiting students from the two schools, who brought loads of gifts for their special friends, who are being covered under Roshni’s comprehensive rehabilitation of disability programme at Rajpura. Brimming with joy, the physically challenged kids had no words to explain what the gesture of the visiting students meant to them.

Said Sukhwinder Singh, a polio-affected child, “For us, this is real Divali. Had our friends from Patiala and SAS Nagar not come, we would have been celebrating but not with the same spirit as we are celebrating today. Being treated by Father Thomas K.J. who is full-time devoted to the service of the physically challenged children in North India, these 30 children were today treated to a sumptuous lunch by YPS, SAS Nagar children, who ate along with their special friends.

Accompanying the students was their English teacher Jyotsna, who informed, “We have long been associated with Roshni, but today is a special day for all of us. We are here not to give anything to these kids, but to derive some inspiration from them”.

Significantly, today’s Divali celebrations were dedicated to the “saint of the gutter’s, Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to the service of the neglected. Father Thomas, who had arranged the small function at Rotary Bhavan in Rajpura, informed: “Many schools of the city are involved in the rehabilitation of our kids. We have two special children, Swapna and Mary, who create beautiful paintings which we scan in the form of greeting cards. From St Stephen’s School to Mount Carmel and St Mary’s in Chandigarh to St Francis in Batala, Sacred Heart in Sidhpur, Dharamsala and St Mary’s at Rampur in Uttar Pradesh, every school supports our cause by buying these cards.”

The money collected from cards goes towards the rehabilitation of special children, who were disbursed scholarships worth Rs 20,000 today. The greeting cards have thus become a source of emancipation for these kids, who are now getting money for their education through sale of the cards which are available at 25 Gulab Nagar, Rajpura.

As for students of YPS, today’s experience was wonderful in the sense that it took them closer to the needs of special kids. Said Megha, Head Girl, YPS, Patiala, “We love sharing time with them. It is so much fun. Back home in Patiala we involve such children in our games and learning activities”. Mr K.L. Dhiman, who accompanied the students from Patiala added that YPS, Patiala, had purchased Divali and New Year greetings from Father Thomas.

For the disabled children, it was a wholesome day, which brought along with it love, joy and special share. They were busy savouring sweets and lunch which their friends had fetched them all the way from Patiala and Chandigarh.



A district’s fight against drug addiction
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib: Fatehgarh Sahib district has a large number of drug addicts, particularly in the rural areas. The problem is growing rapidly. Courtesy, mushrooming of quacks and illegal chemist shops.

As per a survey conducted by the district Red Cross Society every fifth person in rural areas is a drug addict. As the drug inspector found it hard to control the menace it was a social organisation “ Satkar Bal Vikas Sansthan” at Isharhail village, which highlighted the problem.

Mr Nirmal Singh, vice-president of the sansthan, who is running a tailor shop, told The Tribune that the adjoining chemist shop was being frequented by young students, rural youths, old people and even by college and school-going girls.

He said to counter the menace he formed a social club and made announcements from religious places at villages, urging youths not to take drugs. Seminars were also orgainsed followed by a drug de-addiction camp, but the results were not good. They then went from door to door and used to cover one village daily. Even then the response was not encouraging.

Moreover, they had to face the wrath of the addicts and quacks and chemists involved. Finally they decided to approach the Deputy Commissioner in this regard.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, said the aim of the district administration was to make Fatehgarh Sahib a drug-free district and in this regard a drug de-addiction centre was started. He said the district Red Cross Society had started a survey in the rural areas to identify drug addicts and motivate them to get themselves admitted at the centre.

Besides, a campaign has been launched in the district to nab all those involved in the sale of illegal drugs. Schools have also been covered under the campaign. Teachers and experts will deliver lectures to bring awareness among the students in this connection.

Talking to a few patients at the centre the correspondent found that they were regretting their taking drugs and were now on the road to reforms.

Ranjit Singh, a student of plus two of Fatehpur Jattan village admitted at the centre, told the correspondent that he used to take certain tablets for addiction. He said his brother, also a drug addict, led him into this. He said his daily expenditure on these tablets was Rs 50 and he used to steal goods to meet the expenses.

Gurcharan Singh, a class X student of Harlalpur village, said he had been taking drugs for the past three years along with his classmates.

Soni, another student from Peerjain Kotla village, said he had been hooked on to drugs for quite sometime. He said his relatives had brought him here and for the past four days he had not taken any drug and was feeling better.

Meanwhile, Mr P.H.Vaishnav, former Chief Secretary and chairman of Society for Services to Voluntary Agencies, has sanctioned Rs 5 lakh for the project. Mr Vaishnav accompanied by Mr B.B.Mahajan, executive member-cum-director of the organisation himself visited the centre. 


Nine rape cases in September
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 23
The unprecedented hostage incident recently and the police success in killing the kidnapper notwithstanding, nine rape cases — of which seven were alleged gangrapes — during last month alone has exposed the “effectiveness” of the Jalandhar police in controlling crime, particularly crime against women.

Information gathered by The Tribune has revealed that besides other kinds of crime like rowdism, on an average a female — in the age group of five years to 28 years — was raped almost every third day in September and this was despite several tall claims of crime prevention measures like the introduction of a well-equipped PCR motorcycle team.

Interestingly, two members of the PCR team of Jalandhar police allegedly not only molested a newly-wed on October 11 night in her house in nearby Nurpur village, but also forced her to marry an old man brought along by them. They were, however, beaten up by people for this misbehavior and were later booked.

The first alleged rape incident took place on September 1 at a local marriage palace, followed by rape incidents on September 11, 13 and 14. A five-year-old child was allegedly raped by a migrant labourer at Maqsudan, followed by gang rape of a 21-year-old girl at nearby Hazara village. In a majority of these cases, the culprits were still at large.


Tourism potential untapped
Lalit Mohan

NANGAL (Ropar): The proposed picnic spot at Nangal has got embroiled in the bureaucratic process that threatens the project much to the disenchantment of the local people. Sources here say that the Department of Local Bodies has rejected the original proposal of the project mooted by the Nangal council under the supervision of the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain.

The Deputy Commissioner had proposed to develop a picnic spot on the banks of the Nangal lake. The proposal was endorsed by a resolution adopted by the Nangal Municipal Council. The council had also cleared the initial budget of about Rs 50 lakh for the project. The total cost of the project was estimated at about Rs 3 crore.

The project was mooted to improve the economy of the council by exploiting the tourism potential of the town. The economy of Nangal has been hit by the closure of the Punjab National Fertilisers and Chemicals (PNFC) Ltd. unit.

Every year up to five tourists visit the Bhakra Dam and the adjoining Naina Devi shrine. Since there was no halting place at the Naina Devi shrine or Bhakra Dam, it was proposed that picnic spot at Nangal could serve the purpose. Adequate facilities like boating, restaurant, parks and a small market place were proposed at the picnic spot to attract tourists.

However, though the state government was giving more powers to the Local Government, the Department of Local Bodies has rejected the resolution of the Nangal council and jeopardised the project.

The original project was designed by an architect of Chandigarh. However, the new proposal is being designed by engineers of the council.

The MLA from Nangal and Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), when contacted, said that it was unfortunate that the picnic spot project was being delayed due to bureaucratic procedures.


Therapy for bad period
Monica Ahluwalia

Our Correspondent

Patiala: Now women in the reproductive age can say goodbye to heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding through thermachoice uterine balloon (TUB) therapy, informed Dr P.M.Gopinath, a leading gynaecologist at Soonya Hospital, Chennai, and president of the Obstetric and Gynaecological Society of Southern India here today.

The new therapy claims to help women bid goodbye to painful and heavy periods. “This therapy can be offered if the first-line-of-drug therapy fails, to avoid the need to go in for surgery. Most women get back on their feet the very next day,” said Dr Gopinath while addressing the Patiala branch of the Indian Medical Association and other leading doctors of the city.

He stated that the TUB therapy had been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and provides simple, effective and quick relief to women suffering from heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding, a major cause of anaemia among Indian women.

In India 22 per cent of women in the reproductive age, numbering over 3 crore, suffer from excessive bleeding which affects their productivity at home and at the workplace, says Dr Gopinath, who has performed over 400 such procedures.

Dr Harveen Kaur, a leading gynaecologist of Patiala, stated that the therapy requires just eight minutes. Recovery was fast and the patient could go home within an hour and return to her routine without having to take six weeks’ bed rest as required after hysterectomy.

The therapy is available in Patiala at Sehat Medicare and 20 cases have been treated successfully with excellent results, informed Dr Harveen Kaur.

Worldwide about 2 lakh women have used the procedure. About 5,000 Indian women have availed of the technique. The therapy is being offered at 160 centres in India.

It is recommended only for those who have borne children, Dr Harveen added.


Survey on foeticide
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 23
A special survey would be conducted in Fatehgarh Sahib district to assess the reason behind the lowest female birth rate in the district. This was announced by Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, on Friday night while addressing a gathering at the local District Administrative Complex.

Speaking after the staging of the play “Chidi Di Ambar Vall Udan” on female foeticide, organised by the Rotary Club, Sirhind, and District Cultural Society, he said female foeticide is a social, moral, constitutional and religious offence. It is the need of the hour that all NGOs and clubs cooperate with the Health Department to root out this evil from the district.


Homage paid to war hero
Our Correspondent

Moga, October 23
Homage was paid to Subedar Joginder Singh, a Param Vir Chakra, by the Army and the district administration on his 41st martyrdom day at his memorial near the Deputy Commissioner’s office here today.

Wreaths were placed at the memorial by the Station Commander, Ferozepore, Brig R.E. Sidhu, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr G. Ramesh Kumar, SSP Anita Punj, besides leaders of the area. The widow of the martyr, Ms Gurdial Kaur, also laid a wreath at the memorial.

A prayer was organised jointly by Sikh, Christian, Hindu and Muslim priests.

A contingent of the Army presented a guard of honour on the occasion.

A memento was presented to the widow of the martyr.

Subedar Joginder Singh of Mahla village near Moga had died a hero’s death in Ladakh on October 23, 1962, while fighting the Chinese.


Hans supporters criticise cops
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 23
To protest against alleged dilly-dallying attitude of the police in the case of attack on Amrik Hans, brother of popular singer Hans Raj Hans and Sarpanch of the nearby Sofi Pind, residents of Sofi Pind laid siege to the office of the SSP and shouted slogans against the police.

Amrik Hans was allegedly attacked by a group of armed persons on Saturday while he was sleeping in his house. The alleged attackers belonged to the same village and had a dispute with Hans over the possession of the village common land.

Protesters, led by Balwinder Kumar and Piara Singh, alleged that the Sadar police station authorities were not doing anything to arrest the accused. They also alleged that doctors at the Civil Hospital here had failed to provide care to Hans.


Nothing green in this park

Patiala: Residents of Urban Estate, Phase I, here are sore over the poor maintenance of the park in the area, which was developed at a cost of Rs 9 lakh by the Punjab Urban Planning Development Authority (PUDA) a couple of years back.

The executive member of the Residents’ Welfare Association, Mr Balbir Singh Mohi, said due to poor maintenance of the park the number of morning and evening walkers and children coming to the park had come down considerably.

Residents alleged that PUDA was showing an indifferent attitude towards proper maintenance of the park. They said there was no place in the colony where public gatherings could be organised.

The residents added that the concrete footpath in the park needed immediate repairs as it had broken at various places and it was difficult to walk on them. The swings and benches in the park were in a similar condition.

Adding to the woes of the residents is the wild growth of the congress grass. They say that they themselves have to hire persons to get it removed.

There is also the problem of inadequate drainage system. During rainy season water gets collected in the park due to depressions in the ground and their is no provision to drain it.

Even the ornamental plants and shrubs have started wilting for want of water. Besides this, the lights installed in the park are not functional.

Mr Balbir Singh added that he had met the Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, in this regard, but to no avail. 


Register case under rights Act, police told
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 23
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has directed the Home Department and the Punjab police to register the complaint of a local resident as a case under the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. The IGP (Litigation) has been asked to submit a report to the commission before January 2.

Mr V.K. Sibbal, a member of the commission, said in his order, a copy of which was received here today, that a resident of Shree Bhawani Cotton Mills Labour Colony, had alleged that his wife was raped by a resident of the same colony on June 30, 2003 at 1 a.m. The matter was reported to local police, but it did not take any action.

The 25-year-old victim had stated that a resident of the same locality had raped her. She was taken to the Civil Hospital, but the doctor on duty reportedly refused to do a medical examination. The police was reluctant in registering an FIR. The family moved the local court, following which the victim’s medical examination was conducted. The police also registered an FIR, but the person named in the FIR was not arrested. The affected family alleged that a councillor and some police personnel were shielding the culprit.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested Ranjit Singh of Balluana village in another rape case after three months of the incident. A minor girl of the same village had alleged that she was called to a house by two women on some pretext. Both of them had stood guard while Ranjit Singh allegedly raped her.


SC labourers allege unfair treatment
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 23
Mr Ajmer Singh Khuddi, President, Punjab Bharatiya Janata Party Scheduled Castes Cell have urged the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the Government of India to ensure justice for the Scheduled Castes, backward classes and labourers of Barnala area.

In a letter to Mrs Veena Prem Kumar Sharma, a Member of the Commission Mr Khuddi, alleged that Scheduled Castes labourers were subjected to exploitation by industrialists, finance companies and the police.

Mr Khuddi also also alleged that a large number of labourers working in a factory of Trident Group were subjected to harassment by the factory owners. He alleged that also labourers were not paid full wages.

He alleged that SC members of this area were being asked to sit in police stations without any reason for three to four days and they were not given any hearing. He wanted the Commission to instruct police of this area not to harass SC members.


Cops shown ‘Gangajal’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 23
Nearly 550 police personnel of Sangrur district today were shown “Gangajal” film at the Moti Theatre here. SSP A.S. Rai, along with other police officers also accompanied the policemen.

Mr Rai said the “Gangajal” was followed by an in house discussion on the issues raised in the film based on Bhagalpur blindings in 1983.

He said the outcome of the discussion was what should the police do to improve its image.

The SSP said the film show was organised to expose police personnel to societal perceptions of their role. He said the dilemma cops faced was reflected in the “Gangajal”.

If their frustrations were not taken care of, these frustrations were likely manifest in misbehaviour with the public or at worst custodial violence, he added.

Mr Rai said film might humanise the police.

Mr Rai also stated there was need to develop human potential of cops and exploit it for social welfare.


500 pigeons die, SHO issues denial
Tribune News Service

Mehraj (Bathinda), October 23
More than 500 pigeons and some other birds died in the past two days under mysterious circumstances in this ancestral village of state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

The residents of this village claimed that more than 500 birds had died after eating poisonous foodgrains. But Mr Jagnandan Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), Police Station, Phul, who visited the spot yesterday, said that only four to five birds had died.

He said that police was investigating to find out the cause behind death of these birds.

He said that no criminal case had been registered in connection with the death of birds under mysterious circumstances as no resident of the village had lodged any complaint against anyone in this connection.

Mr Chamkaur Singh, panchayat member, Patti Sandli, Mehraj, pointed out that more than 500 birds had died in the past two days under mysterious circumstances.

He added that residents were suspecting that birds had died after consuming poisonous food grains.

Most of the dead bodies of birds had been eaten up by the stray dogs of the village, he said.


Tours planned to unite Bairagis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Mr K.K Bawa, president of the All India Bairagi Mahamandal, said bairagis were secular and were instrumental in bringing together various segments of society through services, education, medicine and free kitchen (langar).

Mr Bawa paid glowing tributes to Swami Rama Nand ji, who fought against communalism and fundamentalism and started the Bairagi seat. Bairagi Baba Banda Singh Bahadur followed the glorious tradition of Bairagis by picking up the sword against tyranny and sacrificing his life, he said.

In a press note issued here today, he talked about his plans to undertake extensive tours to various parts of India so as to unite the Bairagis. He has also expressed his gratitude for declaring October 16 a public holiday.


Demand to shift dumping ground
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 23
Residents of the local Noordi mohalla staged a dharna today in front of the office of the municipal council against the dumping ground for dead animals on the Palasaur road.

They presented a memorandum to the municipal authorities, demanding that the site of the dumping ground be shifted.


Probe into human trafficking sought
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 23
Mr Kesar Singh, president of the Socialist Front, Punjab, and Mr Balwant Singh Khera, chairman of the Malta Boat tragedy Probe Mission, today asked the Home Ministry to bring out a white paper on human trafficking.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, Mr Kesar Singh and Mr Khera also demanded an inquiry into the account books of all political parties as most of them were being funded by human traffickers and NRIs.


Swami unhurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, October 23
International Bala Ji Mission America chief Swami Bala Ji had a narrow escape when his car collided with a truck on the Phillaur-Goraya road today.

While the car was badly damaged, the truck driver sped away.

Swami Bala Ji, who was going to Jalandhar, alleged that the driver escaped with the help of policemen.


Bhagwan Dhanwantry  Divas celebrated
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 23
Members of the Punjab Ayurvedic Medical Services Association, Bathinda in association with the staff members of District Ayurvedic Office today organised a function on the occasion of Bhagwan Shri Dhanwantry Divas. They pledged to serve the mankind with zeal and treat the hospitals as “Arogya Mandirs”.

Dr S.S. Romana, General Secretary of the association, said today that in the function was presided over by Dr M.R. Joshi, District Ayurvedic Officer (DAO), all aspects of Ayurvedic science with special reference to Dhanwantry were highlighted.

He added that as per the ancient concept Adi Dhanwantry was divine incarnation with Jal Kund full of Amrit in his hand, which could provide life in morbid conditions. A yajna was also held on this occasion.



Proceedings quashed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today quashed the proceedings of a meeting in which the President of the Jaitu Municipal Council in Faridkot district was elected.

Seeking the quashing of the proceedings, Mr Charanjit Singh, in his petition against the state of Punjab and other respondents, had earlier contended that his name, along with that of Mr Amarjit Singh was duly proposed by members at a meeting.

Arguing before the court, his counsel had contended that both the petitioner and his opponent received eight votes each, but one of the voters later claimed that he had not polled in Mr Charanjit Singh’s favour. As such, Mr Amarjit Singh was declared elected.

After going through the documents and hearing the arguments in the case, the Bench, headed by Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar, held that changing Mr Shamsher Singh’s vote, after it had been recorded in the petitioner’s favour, was not proper for the convener.

Quashing the proceedings of the meeting, the Bench further directed the convener to hold a draw of lots in accordance with the rules in the presence of the members.

Food for undertrials

In a petition filed before the High Court, Lawyers for Human Rights sought directions to the states of Punjab and Haryana, besides the Union Territory of Chandigarh, for providing food to the undertrial prisoners brought to the court complex.

Arguing before the court, counsel for the organisation Navkiran Singh submitted that the undertrial prisoners were forced to starve throughout the day as they were brought to the courts early in the morning and kept there till late in the evening.

Giving details, Mr Navkiran Singh added that arrangements for food should be made either by the jail or the district administration.

Notice of motion

Acting on a petition filed by two advocates for “comprehensive inquiry by an independent agency into the embezzlement of approximately Rs 2.58 crore” during the purchase of wireless sets, a Division Bench of the High Court issued notice of motion for December 15 to the respondents.

In his petition against the state of Punjab, the Director General of Police and other respondents, Mr Ashok Chaudhary and Mr R.K. Kwatra — members of Lawyers’ Initiative — had earlier submitted that “out of purchase price of Rs 2.77 crorer, only equipment worth Rs 18.5 lakhs was purchased by An Additional Director General of Police and two other respondents without the constitution of purchase committee”.

They had added that the purchases were made “without technical evaluation of the wireless equipment from a fraudulent company already blacklisted”. This, they asserted, “was endangering not only the national security, but also undermining the integrity of the complete police force”.



Inspector gets bail
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 23
A vigilance inspector, Mr Harbhajan Das, who was arrested here last night for a drunken brawl with policemen, was today released on bail after he gave a personal bond of Rs 5,000.

He had allegedly in an inebriated state misbehaved in the office of Sub-Inspector Sulkhan Singh at the traffic post on the GT Road near the bus stand.


Farm experts leave for Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
A six-member delegation of farm experts left for Pakistan at 10 a.m. via at Wagah today. The delegation led by Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, comprising Dr Rajinder Singh, Dr Santokh Singh Sokhi, Dr H.N. Kajuria, Dr Joginder N. Kaul and Dr H.S. Brar would attend the 53rd symposium on Agriculture at Faisalabad.

The two day agricultural symposium would be held at Faisalabad Agricultural University Campus. The university has been established where once stood Lyallpur Khalsa College.


Rice millers allege discrimination
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 23
Owners of Guru Nanak Rice Mills at Rampura and Dyalpura Bhaika towns in this district, and kin of Rampura Phul MLA, Gurpreet Kangar, who joined the SAD (Badal) a few months ago, have not received paddy in these two mills from the Punjab government for storage this season though 50,000 bags of paddy have been given to every rice mill in Punjab by procurement agencies.

Officials of procurement agencies and Food and Supplies Office do not disclose reasons for denying these mills paddy for milling. One mill has quota of Markfed while other mill bonded with Punsup. Paddy is not stored in these mills on verbal directions of certain ruling politicians.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, MLA, today alleged that Congress Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh had been revengeful as the mills of his kin were denied paddy on the instruction of Chief Minister as he (Chief Minister) was annoyed with him (Mr Kangar) for joining the SAD (Badal).

“Don’t ask me about the status of two mills in the name of Guru Nanak Rice Mills. I will not be able to tell that why paddy is not being given to these two mills. I am under pressure and I want to save my job,” said a senior official of District Food and Supplies department pleading anonymity.

He added that though the paddy had been denied to these two rice mills under “pressure”, four rice mills of this district, which were bonded with Markfed had stored paddy meant for Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC) illegally. He added that the Punjab government could not take any action in this regard though other rice millers had complained in this connection to higher authorities alleging that paddy had been stored in unallotted mills for a “consideration”.

Mr Narinderjit Singh, District Manager, PAIC, Bathinda, when contacted for comments about illegal storage of paddy purchased by PAIC in those rice mills, which had quota of Markfed and other agencies, by his field staff, avoided comment.

Mr K.C. Kajal, District Food and Supplies Controller said that certain officials of the PAIC had violated the procurement policy by storing the paddy in those rice mills, not allotted to the PAIC. 


BKU alleges irregularities in paddy purchase
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 23
Officials of the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC) posted on the Haryana border area of the district and specially posted at Hakamwala purchase centre of the district are depriving the state government of crores in the purchase of paddy.

Modus operandi is simple. They are purchasing “Sathhi paddy” brought by traders from Haryana in loose condition in the vehicles.

The officials are purchasing such ‘Sathhi paddy” at cheaper rates and after mixing it in the normal paddy, such mixed paddy is dumped in the open plinths or in the rice mills for custom milling.

The rate of Sathhi paddy is Rs 325 per quintal in the open market while the price of normal paddy is Rs 580 per quintal.

They are having bills of whole of the paddy showing the purchase of normal paddy thus cheating the state exchequer. Activists of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) led by Mr Ruldu Singh, general secretary of the state unit of BKU today met

Mr Kulwant Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner Mansa and told him of irregularity. He assured the delegation of action. District office of the PAIC here, Mr Gurnam Singh, District Manager was not available.



Cut in farm loan rate soon
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 23
Punjab Finance Minister Lal Singh today announced that the government will reduce the rate of interest on agriculture loans from the current 13 per cent to between 9 and 10 per cent within a month. The minister was talking to mediapersons after laying the foundation stone of the Punjab Agriculture University camp office here today.

Responding to a question whether Punjab Government will reduce these rates further by doing away with the various agencies between farmer and the government as suggested by the RBI, Mr Lal Singh said the suggestion forwarded by the RBI were not implementable in Punjab. “There is no way can we reduce the rate to 6 per cent as has been suggested by the RBI. We have already reduced it from 14.5 per cent to 13 per cent and are going to reduce it further,” he said.

Stating that the government had managed to stabilise the monetary position of the state by reducing expenditure and substituting high-cost loans with the low-cost ones, Mr Lal Singh said Rs 1,200 crore had been set aside for upgradation of cities and roads.

Defending the hike in MLA and minister allowances, Mr Lal Singh said the MLAs are being paid keeping in view the demands of their work. When asked if the Chief Minister’s use of a helicopter for commuting was gross wastage of public expenditure, the minister said it was cheaper to fly than go by road.


Gang of cheats busted
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 23
With the arrest of two persons, including a dismissed jawan of the Haryana Home Guards, the local police today busted a gang of inter-state cheats.

Police sources said Pasho, a resident of Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan, and Buta Singh, a dismissed jawan of the Haryana Home Guards, were arrested today for their alleged involvement in defrauding a resident of Tungwali village of the district. The other members of the gang were yet to be arrested.

The sources said the accused used to tell people that they could double their money within a few hours. After convincing the unsuspecting villagers, they used to take currency notes from them and put some chemical on them. They also pasted plain papers to the currency notes. After sometime, the accused used to give original currency notes along with the papers having imprint of the original notes because of the chemical used to the person.

The sources added that after convincing a resident of Tungwali village, the accused used the same modus operandi and took Rs 75000 from him. They put the currency notes laced with the chemical along with plain papers. They asked the person to place the bundle of notes in an almirah and give heat to them. They also told him that they needed some more chemical so that currency notes could be doubled.

When the residents started giving heat to the almirah, the accused removed original currency notes from it. They left the house on the pretext of bringing the chemical. After sometime, a blast occurred in the almirah due to heating and when it was opened only pieces of plain papers of the size of currency notes were found.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said a case had been registered against the accused under Sections 420 and 34 of the IPC on the complaint of the victim.


Couple held for abetting suicide
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib , October 23
The Fatehgarh Sahib police has arrested a couple on charges of forcing their sister-in-law to commit suicide more than a year after it had initiated action against the victim’s estranged husband and his family members.

According to police sources, the police has registered a case against Ashok Kumar and his wife Bhupinder Kaur, both residents of Ambala, under Sections 306, 406 and 506, IPC. The police said this had been done after reinvestigation of the case.

According to the sources, one Rani Devi, who had estranged relations with her husband Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Mandi Gobindgarh, since years, had died at her parents residence in Ludhiana. The report said though initially Rani’s father, Malkit Chand, claimed no foul play later the body of the woman was brought to the Patiala Government Medical College for post-mortem examination. The examination of the viscera revealed that the woman had consumed potassium cyanide.

According to the police investigation, Rani Devi had kept Rs 5 lakh and the registry of her house besides dowry items and jewellery with Ashok Kumar and Bhupinder Kaur at Ambala. The sources said the daughter of the deceased also gave a statement to the police claiming that her mother’s jewellery and cash was being disposed off by her uncle and aunt and that they were behind the registration of a case against her father and others.


5 booked for cheating
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 23
The city police has registered a case against Jiwan Kumar, a clerk of the District Transport Office, Harchet Singh, of Mansa, Jalaur Singh, proprietor of M/s Giddarbaha Finance Company, Rajinder Singh Makkar, notary public, and Hardev Singh, Namberdar, all from Bathinda, under Sections 420, 465, 467, 471, 120-B and 34 of the IPC.

The FIR was registered on complaint by Devinder Singh of Maur Mandi in Bathinda district who owned a mini-bus financed by Jalaur Singh’s company. The registration certificate and the permit of the bus was in his name. Jalaur Singh had got Devinder’s signatures on several blank promissory notes, blank cheques and stamp papers. Devinder Singh engaged Harchet Singh for bus operations and agreed to pay him 25 per cent share of the profit from plying the bus. The complainant sometimes used to send Harchet Singh to deposit the installment amount with the financer. Harchet Singh on November 2, 2002, took a receipt from the financer in the name of the younger brother of the complainant and took all blank signed papers from Jalaur Singh showing that the entire loan had been repaid.

On November 22, 2002, Harchet Singh prepared a false affidavit showing the sale of the mini-bus and got it attested from Rajinder Singh Makkar. Later they in connivance with Jiwan Kumar, got the ownership of the bus transferred on the basis of the forged affidavit. As per law, the ownership of the bus could not be transferred till the transfer of the bus route permit.


Rs 3 lakh looted at gunpoint
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 23
Two scooter-borne youths looted Rs 3 lakh at pistol-point from a commission agent at Kirtowal village under the Harike police station today.

Police sources said the commission agent, Mr Surinder Kumar, was coming from Patti after withdrawing the amount from the State Bank of India. The miscreants also took away the scooter of the agent.


Ayurvedic college may dismiss staff
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 23
The management of Sri Laxmi Narayan Ayurvedic College is contemplating dismissal of certain staff members who led the agitation against the college authorities.

Meanwhile, Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, has written a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences to appoint a high-powered committee to assess the situation in the college and sought steps to check “injustice and excesses” against students and staff.

“The university must take over the college management, owing to serious complaints,” he urged.

He alleged that the Vice-Principal was being sheltered by the management despite orders for his removal. Instead, the management had demoted or suspended those who raised a voice against it, he added.


Probe begins into college graft case
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 23
Probe has begun into the charges of alleged financial irregularities by the authorities of Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera, here.

The probe began following orders from Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur.

Residents of Sanghera had written to the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, urging him to intervene and order a probe into various financial irregularities and reported misuse of funds by the college authorities.

In the letter, Municipal Councillors, Gram Sabha Sanghera, Pendu Vikas Seva Society and residents of Sanghera had written that the college was passing through a grave financial crisis because financial irregularities and misuse of college funds were the order of the day. They alleged that grants offered by University Grants Commission were too misused.

Residents further said teachers, too, had not been paid their salaries for the past six to seven months.


School celebrates annual day
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, October 23
Sainik School, Kapurthala, one of the oldest educational institutions in Punjab, celebrated its 42nd annual day here today. The school has sent 461 cadets to the National Defence Academy since its inception.

Presiding over the annual day function, Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma, announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the school.

Non-teaching staff body threatens stir
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 23
The Punjabi University Non-Teaching Employees Association today demanded withdrawal of the show-cause notice served on its president Malkit Singh Meeta adding if this was not done, the university authorities would be responsible for the consequences.

The Non-Teaching Employees Association, while condemning the authorities for issuing a show-cause notice to their President, claimed that the notice seemed to be an attempt to vitiate the atmosphere in the university.

The association also indicated that it was gearing up for a fight on the issue by saying that the comments made by its president while addressing agitating students reflected the thinking of the entire association and were not made in isolation. It said the association would hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss the “undemocratic” action of the university administration.

It also claimed that Mr Malkit Singh Meeta had in fact made an appeal for maintaining a cordial atmosphere in the university in his speech during the students’ agitation. It said niether Mr Meeta or the association issued any release on the occasion and that some comments attributed to him had been exaggerated. The association has written a separate letter to the Vice-Chancellor in this regard.

Meanwhile, VC Swarn Singh Boparai when contacted on the issue, said he was duty bound to protect the university calender. He said some people had been violating the University calender with impunity in the past and a message needed to be sent to them that none was above the university calender. Mr Boparai said in the case of Mr Meeta, a show-cause notice was sent to him when it was revealed that he had not functioned as a representative of the non-teaching employees but had exceeded his brief.

The Vice-Chancellor said he had explained to a delegation of the Non-Teaching Employees Association yesterday that the issue should not be perceived as taking action against dissenters. He said he explained that he had saved the interest of the university by securing Rs 2.18 crore for it by sticking to the position that the university needed to the compensated in case the fee hike was withdrawn. He said he had told the association that he hoped to meet their demands due to the flexibility provided due to this measure.


Conversion of trade allowed
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 23
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) today decided to permit conversion of trade in commercial sites in urban estates in Punjab. This was decided during a meeting of the Finance and Accounts Committee of PUDA held here.

According to a press note, the decision was taken to reduce the hardships being faced by allottees. The committee approved change of trade in commercial sites within a specified framework without compromising on the quality of environment. The committee also approved charges for permitting conversion of trade.

The committee decided that the new system would have two categories under which commercial activities would be permitted. These categories would be general trade and special trade. No conversion would be allowed in the category listed under prohibitive trade, which included slaughtering of animals and birds, storage and processing of skins and hides, petroleum and petroleum products, inflammable material, explosives and chemicals and those of hazardous nature.

The rates to be charges were been based on the potential of the city or town where the site was located. The state was divided into two zones — high potential and low potential. The former included Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and SAS Nagar and the latter the rest of the cities and towns in the state.

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